James hunt in America

2y ago

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''Even though Hunt saw the whole thing as a bit of fun, he was indeed a bit disappointed''

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We all know James Hunt best as one of the quickest drivers of his time, showing potential while driving for team Hesketh and winning the 1976 title with McLaren, memorised by so many people and part of Formula One popular culture. However, Hunt was involved in more than just Formula One. In 1973 and 1974 Hunt made a few trips to the United States to drive the Can-Am series. Hunt saw this as an opportunity to get some more match practice besides driving in Formula One. In the Can-Am series Hunt was given a Shadow DN2 twin-turbo V8 to his disposal. It wasn’t competitive. Shadow was good enough a constructor to bring race winning cars to the track, but Mark Donohue and his Porsche 917 were dominating the entire first half of the Seventies. The 1000+ hp 917 was absolutely savage, and the Shadows didn’t stand a chance. Hunt wasn’t able to get Shadow boss Don Nichols any results. Even though Hunt saw the whole deal as a bit of fun, he was indeed a bit disappointed. To be able to compete at the front, the Shadow was fitted with a monster engine, but the chassis wasn’t able to bring the power down to the tarmac. The turbo lagged enormously and when it finally revved up, the wheels weren’t able to cope with it. After the Saturday sprint race, Hunt decided to withdraw from the Sunday distance race. The next year, with the 917 not competing, Shadow was finally able to go for victories in their new DN4. Too late for Hunt, he was already driving the Eagle F5000 in the same series. He was invited by former F1-driver Dan Gurney. He did better, scoring a second place at Laguna Seca. The adventures stopped in 1975 when he started driving for McLaren.

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